Meet our bloggers

Arista Botha

Blog author, editor and administrator

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Arista Botha is an associate research officer at the BFRG. She is also a PhD student in the BFRG Wildlife Conservation Physiology lab. Her PhD project is investigating the effect of food availability on body temperature patterns in ungulates. Some of her other research interests include biologging techniques and thermoregulatory behaviour.


Anna Haw

Blog author and editor

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Anna Haw is the full time research veterinarian of the BFRG. She takes care of the capture and surgery components of most of our wildlife research projects. She is currently in the final stages of her PhD with the Wildlife Conservation Physiology lab. As part of her PhD, she investigated ways to improve the  chemical capture of white rhino. Anna is also involved in other research projects (read about Anna’s lion capture here) and outreach programmes such as rabies vaccination campaigns in Zimbabwe.


Malek J. Murad

Blog author

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Malek Murad is a veterinary student who joined us for two months in 2015 as part of his internship (read about his trip to Kruger here). He assisted us with research activities in the field, in the laboratory and with data analysis. He is interested in wildlife veterinary science and hopes to become a wildlife veterinarian one day.


Wendy Panaino

Blog author

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Wendy Panaino is an MSc student conducting her research through the Animal, Plant, and Environmental Sciences Centre for African Ecology, as well as the BFRG Wildlife Conservation Physiology lab. Wendy’s MSc research involves the investigation into the body temperature and activity patterns of ground pangolins (Smutsia temminckii) in Tswalu Kalahari Reserve (read about her kalahari adventure here). She conducted her BSc Honours research on behavioural thermoregulation of sable antelope (Hippotragus niger) in Rustenburg.


Liesl Hendry

Blog author

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Liesl Hendry was a member of the BFRG during her Masters degree (read about her project here). She is currently doing a PhD in Bioinformatics. Her research involves an investigation into the genetics of blood pressure/hypertension and the development of a queryable cardiovascular database. She has a general interest in genetic association studies and enjoys working with big data-sets and exploring tools and techniques to get the most out of the data.


Antonia Wadley

Blog author

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Toni is the Research Officer of the Brain Function Research Group and lecturer in the School of Physiology. She is also a former Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the Pain lab of the BFRG (read about her postdoctoral research here). Toni is originally a physiotherapist from the UK but now researches HIV-related pain. In particular, she is fascinated by how psychosocial factors affect the experience of pain.

Kirsten Redman

Blog author



Kirsten is a post-graduate student with the BFRG, who had recently handed in her MSc for examination. Kirsten completed her honours and masters degrees with the Wits Sleep Laboratory. Her research focuses on sleep in people living with HIV exploring in particular the impact of HIV, antiretroviral therapy and immune reconstitution on sleep, circadian rhythms, and daytime sleepiness (read her story here).


Chloe Flinn

Blog author


Chloe Flinn is a research officer at the Wits Sleep Laboratory, in the BFRG. She completed her Honours in Neurophysiology at the University of Pretoria and is currently completing her Masters at the University of the Witwatersand, where her research focuses on sleep and pain in women with dysmenorrhoea.


Andani Ratshinanga

Blog Author

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Andani is a graduate student from the University of the Witwatersrand, (BSc and Honours). For her Honours research project, she was under the supervision of Professor Kennedy Erlwanger, investigating the use of traditionally accepted medicinal plants as a treatment option for diabetes. She is currently a DST-NRF intern, under the mentorship of Andrea Fuller and Arista Botha in the BFRG (read all about her internship here). She plans on doing her Masters with the BFRG in 2018. After being involved in almost every project in the BFRG she has developed a specific interest in HIV and pain.


Valery Makabudi Phakoago

Blog author

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Ms Phakoago holds an M.Sc. Environmental Sciences (Distinction) from the University of Venda, a B.Sc. (Hons) Zoology and B.Sc. Molecular and Life Sciences from University of Limpopo. She did her Master’s degree on a geophagia project which was interesting, however, her true passion has always been wildlife conservation. She loves animals, nature, being outdoors, and travelling. In her free time, when she is not watching animal programmes, she likes knitting. Currently, she is our intern sponsored by the DST-NRF internship programme. She is hoping to start her PhD on pangolins with the BFRG next year.


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